Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film, 2007)
Ah, Harry Potter. A review of the DVD from Death Ray 09.
Film: THREE STARS Extras: FOUR STARS
Director: David Yates
Writer: Michael Goldenberg
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Ema Watson, and Rupert Grint
Harry Potter! The boy wizard’s latest adventure wanders the merest way off the path of formula.
The Harry Potter craze has passed me by, the novels leave me cold. But despite Potter’s popularity, it can’t be just me, so this review is for people who like the flicks, but don’t read Rowling’s books.
A Potter film goes thusly: Harry has a row with his uncle, goes to Hogwarts, meets a new teacher, chats with Dumbledore, discovers something fishy, gets into trouble, gets help from Hagrid, and has a fight. Then they have cake. There’s usually a quidditch match in there, and absolutely everyone has to say “Harry Potter…” in a thoughtful manner at least once. So samey are the films that when the clever visuals become familiar, the films blend into one. Let’s see, there was the one with the chessmen, the one with the dragon, um, that one with Timothy Spall being a rat…
The Order of the Phoenix breaks this formula a little. It’s darker, the “Ah, Harry Potter…” count is down, there’s an excellently nasty new headteacher and, so we know there’s trouble brewing, John William’s twinkly score has been replaced with dull action flick music.
The kids are growing startlingly fast – Neville Longbottom (the pudgy supporting character) has dramatically turned into a 30 year-old accountant – so the acting is better, and the story has more scope. Harry is developing a personality along with his beard, getting all angry, and there’s an awesome display of proper magic at the end.
But as usual, the characters and plot are scraped paper-thin because there’s loads to cram in and, hey, everyone’s read the books. And as this one feels even more like an episode of a series, you’ll again be struggling to remember what happened by the time the next rolls around. Still, like the others, it’s solid if not scintillating entertainment.
DVD Extras: Buckets – 15 minutes of extra scenes (these could have been reintegrated), three documentaries: Trailing Tonks, Harry Potter: The Magic of Editing, and The Hidden Secrets of Harry Potter (useful for getting up to speed for non-book readers), some trailers and a smattering of CD-ROMery.